1. Oklahoma (2018: 12-2, 8-1 Big 12, 1st in conference) - Last season the talk was about Baker Mayfield being gone. This season, Kyler Murray is gone. But not to worry, because Jalen Hurts is going to step in and keep that Boomer Sooner train rolling. Week one isn’t your traditional cupcake, but nonetheless the Sooners should have no issue starting on the right foot. They need to tread lightly, though, because there’s going to be a familiar face standing on the opposite sideline.
This Week: vs. Houston
2. Texas (2018: 10-4, 7-2 Big 12, 2nd in conference) - Really wanted to put the Cyclones second here, but Texas has earned the number two spot ... for now. Expect an emotional week given the recent and sudden passing of Longhorn great Cedric Benson. The football universe has rallied around Austin, and Saturday’s return to football will likely be full of mixed emotions, punctuated with a much-needed blowout victory
This Week: vs. Louisiana Tech
3. Iowa State (2018: 8-5, 6-3 Big 12, 4th in conference) - The Cyclones cannot be overlooked. Though talented, they have gone from the hunters to the hunted, and all this after losing two NFL-caliber players from last year’s eight-win team. The most anticipated season
in recent memory ever will get off on the right foot, and set the stage for a Sept. 14 showdown in Ames against the TOE.
This Week: vs. Northern Iowa
4. Oklahoma State (2018: 7-6, 3-6 Big 12, 8th in conference) - It was a disappointing 2018 season for The Cowboys — and the mullet — but Stillwater is hoping for a bounceback season. Saturday’s road test to Corvallis is going to be a tough test for a team that has yet to decide on its starting quarterback.
This week: at Oregon State
5. TCU (2018: 7-6, 4-5 Big 12, 6th in conference) - The Frogs were recently listed as one of the top teams of the decade, but they fell well short of that standard last season. Their QB situation is even more dicey than Oklahoma State’s, however, so expectations remain modest (though optimistic) heading into the 2019 season.
This Week: vs. Arkansas Pine Bluff
6. Baylor (2018: 7-6, 4-5 Big 12, 5th in conference) - There’s some buzz around the Bears heading into this season, all thanks to coach Matt Rhule, and how he’s helped stabilize the program in just three years. Keep an eye on QB Charlie Brewer, who is poised to take a step forward on what was a promising sophomore season.
This Week: vs. Stephen F. Austin
7. Texas Tech (2018: 5-7, 3-6 Big 12, 7th in conference) -Tech is one of the bigger puzzles heading into this season. Despite Kliff Kingbury’s departure, the Red Raiders have managed to keep most of the team in tact, and even plug some holes on defense with graduate transfers. They can ease into this transition season with a cupcake matchup on Saturday.
This Week: vs. Montana State
8. Kansas State (2018: 5-7, 3-6 Big 12, 9th in conference) - The Vampire is gone ... Chris Klieman has been tabbed as his successor, and has already opened some eyes, at least with his decorating techniques. As to whether or not his wildly successful FCS career will translate into the FBS realms ... that remains to be seen.
This Week: vs. Nicholls
9. West Virginia (2018: 8-4, 6-3 Big 12, 3rd in conference) - How the mighty have (seemingly) fallen. Out are coach Dana Holgerson, QB Will Grier, WR David Sills and LB David Long. In are new coach Neal Brown and QB Austin Kendall (Oklahoma transfer). It’s shaping up to be a long season in Morgantown.
This Week: vs. James Madison
10. Kansas (2018: 3-9, 1-8 Big 12, 10th in conference) - It’s Kansas football. But hey, at least they have Les Miles! (Too early to make bad Les Miserables puns? You’re right - will wait for next week.) I was going to say they have Miles to go, but sadly that’s already been taken. Enjoy!
This Week: vs. Indiana State
Now let’s go play some Football!